Fashion and Travelling in Georgian Era
A Handy Sedan Chair Service
During the “Golden Era” many changes of fashion took place in England. In a gentleman’s clothes there was no longer so much lace as in the Stuart period and clothes were not so bright. A Georgian gentleman wore a waisted coat with cuffs turned back to show the white shirt underneath, and he wore a cravat at his throat. Stuart wigs gradually became smaller and the pig-tail came into fashion. This was a short tail of natural hair at the back, tied with a bow of ribbon. Wigs were often powdered and curled. When indoors a gentleman wore a sort of night-cap over his shaven head. The habit of smoking was still considered low and vulgar, but men sniffed tobacco, which they carried in elegant snuff-boxes. Ladies’ dresses were still made of heavy rich material and their skits were stretched over hoops or stiffened with whale-bone.
The Georgian era was followed by the so-called “Regency” because the Prince of Wales became Regent (1811) and reigned for his father, who was ill.
During the Regency there were further changes in dress which became relatively simple, following ancient models, such as the old-fashioned Greek style. Lord Brummel, well known as the “Prince of Dandies”, was leading the fashion for the “bucks” as smart young men were called. All young gentlemen dressed in the fashion set by Lord Brummel. Usually a gentleman is wearing tight trousers, called “pantaloons”, his coat is cut away in front and has tails at the back. Underneath the coat is a splendid waistcoat. Round his neck he is wearing a starched neck-cloth.
Travelling became a little more comfortable than before during the “Golden Era.” Roads began to be built by some specialists and greatest road-makers of the time, such as John Macadam [1756-1836]. Using these roads “stage coaches” could now make regular runs between London and other large towns of England. They were so called because they stopped at “stages” along the road to change horses and to allow passengers to stretch their legs or to spend the night in an inn. About the first half of the 18th century a stagecoach took two-three days to cover the distance from London to Dover. But the most elegant form of travel for short journeys was the famous “Sedan Chair”. However, travelling in the country was still very unsafe as highwaymen waylaid coaches on their way from one town to the other. About 1830 George Shilliber (1797-1866) started the first omnibus.